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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Reem Binkaram speaks at the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit in Sharjah on Tuesday.
The UAE has made significant progress in its mission to empower women in the workforce across various sectors and the nation’s women can today be classified as role models for the rest of the world.
Reem Binkaram, Director, NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, told Gulf Today, during an exclusive interview that women are an essential part of society, who contribute to the transformation of society.
She lauded the visionary role of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of NAMA of providing freedom, facilities and supporting women empowerment initiatives.
“Today, the second edition of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS 2019) kicked off in Sharjah. The main concept behind hosting this mega event is to explore ways to encourage women to be more economically active.”
“It is very important for us to know and to send across a message to every woman that she needs to understand her role and importance in the economy and her contribution to the country’s GDP growth,” she added.
She noted that all efforts should be made to enable women to perform their roles to the fullest.
“Nothing should hinder the march of women’s progress. Like men, women have the right to assume the highest positions according to their abilities and qualifications.”
Today, Emirati women are actively and efficiently working in all sorts of roles. These include space research, renewable energy, nuclear energy for peaceful use, manufacturing and launching satellites, aviation technology and other industries.
BinKaram disclosed that empowering women is a part in our country’s DNA. “The UAE has jumped in the 2019 UNDP Gender Equality Index making it the highest ranked Arab country in the world due to the hard work and dedication of our visionary Rulers.
This achievement was accomplished just four years after the establishment of the UAE Gender Balance Council in 2015, when the UAE was then ranked 49th in the world. The country is now just one spot away from achieving its goal of becoming one of the world’s top 25 countries in the Index by 2021.
“We strive to change the culture that allows a glaring 23 percent gender pay gap to exist. We would like to change the culture that allows only 28 per cent of working women around the world to have a paid maternity benefits.”
“We seek to change the culture that forcibly orientates girls towards professions and specialisations that do not realise their ambitions or their potential, she added.
BinKaram mentioned that they need to make every effort to break the stifling stereotypes that severely limit the achievements of working women, and offer them the resources they need to establish the right balance between their professions and families. To attain these goals, we must assume our roles as active drivers of change,”
She called on all Emirati women to continue on their progress and achievements, stressing her confidence in the Emirati women’s ability to contribute to the progress and advancement of the country.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) says it will take more than 200 years to achieve gender equity and bridge the pay gap. We cannot wait that long if we aspire to succeed in both economy and society – if we were to reduce poverty, establish peace and secure a more sustainable future for generations to come”. Putting her words within an achievable context, BinKaram cited the UAE’s and Sharjah’s experience, saying: “It is not a question of time, but a question of faith, willingness, planning and continued, dedicated engagement to better women’s status.”
“The sky is the limit. Where there’s a will there’s a way. We have the entire infrastructure in place that supports us as a businesswoman in Sharjah. The UAE government has provided us full support and facilities for ease of doing business. We should benefit from these initiatives. We should believe on collaboration, because it is a key to success,” BinKaram concluded.
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